I was watching a documentary on Woodstock the other day. Like most people, I wasn’t there and didn’t learn about it until it was over, until it was widespread news. For fifty years, Woodstock has been associated with ‘its time’ and a massive coming together nobody imagined on such a scale, and which was a tribute to everyone involved that it was peaceful and so many performer legacies are so tied to the Woodstock legacy, real or imagined.
What comes through from the film is that the organizers, though each with credible capability, had no idea of the extent and magnitude of problems they would encounter or the impact of what they created. Some of it was proper planning and spot-on decision making, but mostly is fingers-crossed reliance on a lot of well-intentioned people working in anything but harmony. It was good luck more than good management – yet the event is revered by a half-million people who went there and many millions more who simply wished they had been.
Which brings me to my point, the way to have (or not to have) success. How? What determines what will succeed at anything, or who will? We just don’t know … or do we? Can we understand better how-to and then do it too, can we understand why and be better analysts of our own plans?
Edison failed many times; there seems to be no definitive number, but the consensus is about 1,000. Most of us would give up on most things long before that, wouldn’t we? I think I would.
But here’s the secret ingredient: believing strongly enough in what you are doing. Does the athlete count how many days of practice, or how many races were won or lost – or do they focus on doing whatever it takes, working and training to win the gold medal.
Does success come from brilliance, or from hard work?
Often we work very hard and get disappointing results, so what’s that about?
Hard work v. smart work?
Smart work v. brilliant work?
Steady work v. relentless work?
All of the above, and then it never hurts to get lucky; somebody’s ship comes in, somebody wins the lottery, somebody gets struck by lightning.
What else is 50 years old right now?
Most things that happened in 1969 that were important then have long faded from memory – much as people do, leaving memories of some things which really stand out. Everyone has their own view, so I will share mine of ‘what is important’, vis-à-vis what is merely ‘interesting,’ from these lists:
Important then, important still:
Boeing 747 debuts
on Canada, legalization of contraception and abortion
Ted Hoff designed the first microprocessor, an integrated circuit semiconductor chip
Interesting then, some still are, but mostly this is nostaligic:
the movie Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid came out
the Beatles broke up (Sept. 1969 – but not announced until April, 1970)
Last edition of the Saturday Evening Post
test flight of the Concorde
S. starts pulling troops out of Vietnam
Moammar Gadhafi led coup in Libya
Jack Kerouac died
John Lennon and Yoko Ono released ‘Give Peace A Chance’
The Stonewall Rebellion
Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon
Waiting for Godot won the Nobel Prize for literature
Nixon elected President of the United States
My call to action is this: if you are going to do something today, this year, soon … ask the question of how it will be remembered, if it is at all, 50 years from now: will it be important, or merely interesting.
Mark, wonderful as usual. I’ve recently recognized a change needed in me for something that has been with me my whole adult life, maybe longer. For me, it came to me overnight or in a flash, as a few other positive changes needed have. LH, Lethbridge, AB